ANDERSON — There might be no higher compliment for an NFL offensive coordinator than an admission from Bill Belichick that his scheme is difficult to prepare for.
Welcome to an elite club, Pep Hamilton.
The New England Patriots head coach and defensive mastermind told media following the team earlier this week that he's intrigued by the Indianapolis Colts' versatility. A team that preaches power running and the value of "body blows" spread the Kansas City Chiefs out for much of last week's AFC wild card playoff game and relied on speed and precision.
As Saturday's divisional playoff contest nears in Foxborough, Mass., Belichick isn't certain what to expect from Hamilton and his personnel.
"We know that they had a lot of success last week against Kansas City, and we certainly have to be ready for that," Belichick said. "Maybe that will be what we get, but maybe that will be more of a game plan for Kansas City. Maybe they'll look at us differently, maybe they won't. We'll just have to wait until Saturday to see on that. But Pep looks like a very game-plan oriented coach, and it's hard to predict exactly what they're going to do from game to game."
Some of this certainly is gamesmanship.
Belichick is a master of mental warfare, and he'll seek any advantage he can get. But the battle of wits between the league's foremost defensive-minded head coach and the Colts' rising young offensive coordinator will be one of the game's most important matchups.
Hamilton has been down this road before, helping to devise game plans to attack some of Belichick's best New England defenses from 2003-05 as an offensive assistant for the rival New York Jets.
That experience showed Hamilton just how difficult the challenge can be. The Jets went 0-6 against the Patriots in those three seasons, averaging 11.7 points per game.